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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tranto Ferry

Tranto Ferry is a small village suitable for a human occupied region. The ideal location is in an out of the way, lightly settled agricultural area with a large river.

The village is a tiny collection of rough stone houses with thatch roofs, the ferry itself, the run down Two Fish Tavern, and a small trading post. A single dirt road leads through town to the ferry, and most of the buildings in town line this street. The village is named after the original family that built the ferry, and Tranto is still a common family name in the area. The area surrounding village has a scattering of family farms, trappers, and fishermen.

The Ferry

Gio Tranto runs the ferry, a simple flat bottomed barge that crosses the river as needed. It is the easiest way across, saving half a day's march to the nearest ford. The ferry is guided across the river by a combination of poling and a heavy rope strung across the river and fed through two guides along the upstream side of barge, fore and aft. If the payload is large or heavy, Gio will get Farvin from the Two Fish Tavern to help him make the crossing. The ferry is large enough to hold a wagon and team, or four horses and their riders. The ferry is usually docked on the village side of the river. A heavy chain and crude lock secure the barge when unattended.

Gio Tranto, the ancient and surly ferryman, is close-mouthed and gruff. He seldom says much to those using the ferry beyond "three copper," the standard price for man or beast to use the ferry. If plied with coin or drink he can be convinced to talk about passengers who've made the crossing in the last couple of days. Much beyond that and his memory is rather hazy. When not on the boat, he can be found fishing from the ferry, sleeping in his one room hovel next to the dock, or in the Two Fish Tavern.

Two Fish Tavern

The tavern is a bit more substantial than the rest of the village. It is a two story stone structure with a slate roof that's seen better days. The lower floor consists of the tavern itself, the fair sized kitchen, and the owner's quarters. The upper floor has a common sleeping room and two smaller rooms with two beds each. There is a small barn with stalls for several horses and fenced yard behind the tavern.

Ale, mead, and cheap wine are all available from the bar. Food is available most of the day, typically porridge at breakfast, bread, cheese and fruit at lunch, and some sort of stew or soup featuring fish at dinner. The fare is plain but generally hearty and filling.

There are usually a few locals in the tavern throughout the day. The ferryman Gio Tranto spends a considerable time nursing ales at the corner table. In the morning one or two local fishermen are generally here for breakfast. At midday the Lino Tranto from the trading post takes his lunch at the tavern along with any locals who are doing business in the village. In the evening local farmers and fishermen tip a few ales and watch any travelers who have stopped for the night.

Navi and Cala Alari own and run the tavern. Navi tends the bar and deals with any lodgers while Cala runs the kitchen. Navi is a solid, graying man with a friendly manner, though he clearly favors the locals over strangers when it comes to service. Cala is a weary looking middle-aged woman with faded brown hair and dark eyes. She is courteous enough, but usually leaves the guests to her husband. Navi is more than willing to talk about any local news or travelers passing through, especially if someone buys him an ale or two.

Ana Alari, daughter of Navi and Cala works in the tavern serving food and drink. She looks very much like her mother, though she hasn't developed the weary look quite yet. Both her parents are fairly protective of her, and the guest that's too free with his hands around Ana is likely to find himself sleeping under the stars.

Farvin Trano is the tavern's stable hand and sometimes bouncer. He's an large sloppy-looking fellow with short brown hair and a perpetual half-smile. Farvin is a bit dim, but he manages horses and oxen well enough. He's very strong and tends to get over-excited when there's trouble in the tavern. Farvin sleeps in the common room. The odds of getting anything useful out of Farvin are slim.

Trading Post

The post serves as a general supply for the local farmers and fishermen, a place for trappers to trade their furs for goods, and a feed and provisioning stop for travelers. It is a single story stone structure with a wooden roof. The proprietor lives in rooms connected to the back of the store.

The post sells a variety of basic goods including textiles, tools, pots and pans, kitchen goods, spices, and miscellaneous junk accumulated through trade. Depending on the season there may be bales of furs, smoked fish, or farm produce available.

Lino Tranto owns the trading post. He is a harried looking man, constantly moving about the store and talking when customers are present. Despite the general poorness of the region he manages to make a decent living, primarily from the fur trade. He knows most of the locals and keeps tabs on anyone passing through. Travelers looking for local information would do well to start with Lino. He also knows local fishermen and trappers familiar with the locale who might be willing to serve as guides.

Other Residents

Dona Tranto is the village midwife. She is stout middle-aged woman with black hair and a brusque, business-like manner. She walks with a pronounced limp and often uses a cane. She is the closest thing to medical care available in the village. She has little contact with travelers unless her particular skills are called for.

Orlo Gianton is a local fisherman and trapper. He and his family (wife Conia and young son Orlo) live a few miles upriver from the town. Orlo is an energetic young man with a friendly manner and an easy laugh. Orlo is willing to hire himself out as a guide or camp supporter. He is very knowledgeable about the locale.

Rafael Tranto is a rather unsuccessful trapper who lives several miles south of the village. His sneering manner and acne-scarred complexion make a bad first impression. Rafael is not above a bit of thievery if the opportunity presents itself.

Hooks

  • Anyone using the ferry will be remembered by the locals for at least a few days unless they're coerced to forget.
  • Travelers who appear weak or disorganized may be targeted by Rafael Tranto, perhaps with a friend or two.
  • The trading post ships goods to and from more prosperous areas.
  • The fishermen and trappers have a good knowledge of the local geography and might serve as guides.
  • The ferry cannot make the river crossing if the river is flooded, causing delays.
  • The locals are fairly defenseless, making it an ideal target for violence.
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